Sunday, July 04, 2004
Inclusion in the group show (and having been asked to recommend the other artists whose work would be exhibited with his) was A.'s triumphal return to the museum that had quietly dismissed him from giving classes many years ago. He had been called into the director's office and told he had to go because his lifestyle wasn't compatible with the museum's outlook. "Why," he asked astonishedly, "because I don't have electricity and a flush toilet?" No, he was told, because he was homosexual. There had been complaints from students about having to study with a homosexual teacher. No charges or hints of improper behavior of any kind, just the homosexuality itself.
The current administration of the museum had no idea of this history until A. mentioned it in the process of arranging the exhibit, and they were apparently deeply shocked. At last Thursday's opening reception, the welcoming message from the director made special mention of how grateful the museum was to have A. associated with it and how having his work on exhibit honored the museum and the other artists he had hand-picked to exhibit with him. He listened, very proud, with tears in his eyes.